Where is Amicalola Falls State Park
Amicalola Falls State Park is a beautiful forested park in Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia. The park is famous for the 729-foot Amnicola falls and for being the starting or ending point of the 2,135-mile Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian trail travels north and south the full length of the east coast of the United States and is popular by many hikers and backpackers.
Only 7.5 miles away is the southern end of the Appalachian Trail. The park is just a 20-minute drive from the town Dawsonville, Georgia.
Dawsonville is a historical town with a history of auto racing in the area and a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts as well as NASCAR fans. Dawsonville is just a one-hour drive from Georgia’s city of Atlanta. Amicalola Falls US State Park is a 20-minute drive from Dawsonville.
How Big is Amicalola Falls State Park
This forested park with an impressive fall is 829 acres in total, including The Amicalola Lodge, a campground, cabins for rent, an Appalachian trail hikers’ shelter, and many hiking trails. The park features a 729-foot cascading waterfall, the third-highest cascading waterfall in the eastern US.
Amicalola Falls State Park offers 12 miles of hiking trails. The bottom of Amicalola Falls is 1,900 feet. The highest elevation in the park is at the lodge located at 2,707 feet.
Amicalola Falls State Park Weather
The temperature is comfortable year-round, but the park sees the most visitation during the summer months from May through September. The monthly average year-round is around 5 inches of rain a month.
Winters are mild bringing only a bit more rain each month, and an average temperature of 50 degrees. Winters last from around November to March. April and May summer begins to approach with comfortable average temperature of around 70 degrees. July is the warmest month with an average of 85 degrees.
The forest in the park is mainly hardwoods, oaks, and pines. Wildflowers are abundant in the spring and summer and the fall sports beautiful yellow and orange colors in the oak’s leaves. There are a variety of birds to view, squirrels, deer, rabbits, racoons, and black bears that can be spotted year-round.
When did Amicalola become a State Park
Amicalola is the Cherokee word for “tumbling waters”. The historical drive of Cherokee Indians out of the land by European Americans, known as the “Trail of Tears”, happened in this area in the late 1800s. Many people died in these bloody battles over land and exploration heading west by European Americans.
A settler was given the Amicalola land in lottery but did not want to have it. The state purchased the land in 1911. After the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club named the southern end of the Appalachian trail nearby, the state park was created. In 1940, Amicalola Falls became a Georgia State Park.
Things to do in Amicalola Falls State Park
Year round Amicalola Falls State Park has great trails to explore and hike, lodge activities, and a restaurant. All ages and hiking abilities can enjoy this easily accessible park. The visitor center, lodge, restaurant, and falls overlook are great for non-hikers to enjoy the park. The lodge offers many activities with guides. Our State Park Visitors Guide outlines them below.
Go for a Zip Line
Leaving out of the lodge, sign up for a zip line through the forest trekking across suspension bridges.
Hike to the Start of the AT
A 7.5-mile hike takes you to the start of the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain. Continue on to summit Springer Mountain Summit.
Sign up for a Wilderness Survival Trip
Sign up for a wilderness survival trip learning the basics of building a fire and other primitive wilderness survival tricks and tips.
Hike the Hike Inn Trail
The Len Foote Hike Inn is a hike accessible lodge. It is an easy-moderate 5-mile hike in from the state park to the lodge.
Hike the Falls Loop
Amicalola Falls Loop Trail is a 2.1-mile hike to a waterfall viewpoint, then downstairs to the falls. The loop trail is a classic must do trail in the park.
Stay at the Amicalola Lodge
Reserve a room at the lodge located in the park. The lodge also have cabins available to rent by reservation. Reservations are recommended up to 11 months in advanced.
Eat at the Maple Restaurant Lodge
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are available at the lodge in a buffet style. This is the only restaurant in the state park and has great reviews and a stunning view of sunsets.
Shoot a Compound Bow
Take a lesson available at the lodge in an outdoor range with a compound bow. The lodge offers 2-hour lessons.
Do a GPS Scavenger Hunt
A 2-3-hour hike with a GPS takes you on a self-guided hike up a mountain. The GPS uses detailed coordinates to guide you up the mountain to a viewpoint.
Explore the Visitors Center
At the entrance of the park the visitor center has exhibits displaying the history, forest life, and Appalachian Trail exhibits.
When to go to Amicalola Falls State Park
The park is open year-round and recommends making a reservation up to 11 months in advance. The park hours are 7 am to 10 pm for day use. The most popular visitation times are from May through November.
From October to November, the hardwood trees in this area have leaves turn yellow and orange. Typically, the fall color change happens during the end of October, early November. The temperatures start to cool down into the 60’s and 70’s and the crowds begin to thin out making it a great time to visit Amicalola.
Must-Have things to bring to Amicalola Falls State Park
With many miles of trails to explore, you may end up hiking further than you plan on! List of Parks advises bringing lots of food, water, park maps, and gear to be prepared for anything. Amicalola has limited resources at the park itself, so bring all you need with you.
Drinking water is available at the park, however bringing your own is suggested.
There is one restaurant in the park serving full service meals. Save some money by bringing in your own snacks and food.
Park Maps in Physical and on Phone
Most of the trains are in forest so having a map will help with a sense of direction.
Proper Hiking Boots
Trails can be rough, rocky, rooted, and muddy at times. Bring solid hiking boots to keep your feet comfortable.
Afternoon showers are frequent in this area with rain squalls that can roll in and out unpredictably. Bring lots of warm layers to stay warm.
Temperatures cool off into the 40’s and 50’s in this park during the evening. Bring lots of warm layers to stay warm.
There are mosquitos in this area and they can be plentiful. They bite, so bring bug spray and thin layers to cover your skin.
Where to stay in Amicalola Falls State Park
Within the park itself is Amicalola Falls Lodge. The lodge has 57 resort-style rooms, 14 cabins, and 24 RV and Tent campsites. Just outside of the park is a hike in lodge, called the Hike Inn. The Hike Inn is a 5-mile easy-moderate hike into a lodge nestled in the forest with a few stream crossings. Available with reservations made online.
It is recommended to make a reservation up to 11 months in advanced as this park is very busy from May through September.
Outside of the park is a campground called Under the Hemlock LLC, a good option if lodging is full in the state park itself. Just down the road is Forrest Hills Resort, a 3-star hotel in the forest, secluded and peaceful.
Food Nearby Amicalola Falls State Park
Within the park is Maple Restaurant, a full-service breakfast, lunch, and dinner restaurant with spectacular views. Take a short 20-minute drive to Dawsonville to grab some food outside of the park. Check out the historic Dawsonville Pool Room or Fajita Grill Mexican Restaurant.
Kroger marketplace is the nearest grocery store located in Dawsonville.
Airports near Amicalola Falls State Park
The closest major airport to Amicalola Falls State Park is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport about a 1.5-hour drive away. Renting a vehicle and driving to the state park is the best way to get to Amicalola.
There are grey hound busses available that drop off at the nearby town of Gainesville. Gainesville is about 38 miles from Amicalola Falls State Park. Many Appalachian Trail hikers choose this option as to not have to return a vehicle.